The Comprehensive Guide To Email Format For Business to Get Replies ASAP
Emails play a critical role in business. And while a well-thought-out and properly formatted email can lead you to success, a bad email can ruin your reputation and harm your relations. The email content isn’t always the case. Often, we ignore the formatting. However, proper formatting increases the chances that the recipient will read and reply to your email.
In our article, you will find valuable information about the correct email format for business. Also, we will provide you with the best business email format examples that you can apply to your communications.
A professional email should have at least a subject line, salutation, email body, and a closing part. Now let’s explore each component in more detail.
Subject lines are important because they are the first things that recipients see when they get emails.
This part of the email can determine whether the recipient opens it or not. To get the most out of your subject line, be sure to follow these essential rules:
Make it clear
If you expect a response, you should always make your subject as clear as possible. This will help the recipient assess the importance and urgency of the email immediately.
Make it short
Most experts suggest keeping your subject line no longer than ten words. Six words would be even better. But keep in mind that too short subject lines, such as “Stuff,” “Hello,” etc. may cause your message going to spam.
Subject lines that include words like “urgent,” “alert,” or “important” are proven to improve email open rates. But be sure to use them only if your email is really urgent. Otherwise, the recipient can get used to your “urgent” emails, and next time when you need immediate action from the reader, they may assume it’s your typical trick.
Tip: It’s not necessary to use the word “urgent” when you need to maintain a sense of urgency. Instead, you can set a deadline. For example, “Charity presentation notes needed by EOD Tuesday.”
Stay away from the capital letters (except acronyms and abbreviations) and overused exclamation points. CAPS usually creates the feeling that the sender intended their message to be read in a loud, angry yell.
Examples of a good subject line
“ABC Project Notes And Communication Guidelines” — The six-word subject line is the ideal length. It is specific. Plus it identifies the project by name and describes the topic of the message.
“FDA reports status needed. Please reply ASAP” — The subject line is short and specific. It also has a sense of urgency that makes the recipient more likely to respond without delay.
More info about subject lines:
- “How to Write Eye-Catching Email Newsletter Subject Lines”
- “How to Write a Kickass Follow-up Email Subject Line for Sales to Close the Deal”
Figuring out how to start a formal email can be a challenge, especially when you are getting in touch with someone you don't know very well. Is “Dear Sir or Madam” overly formal? Isn’t “Hey” too casual? Let’s find out.
When to use Mr/Ms
If you are writing to someone in particular who is of a superior standing to you, plus you know their name, you can use the Mr/Ms salutation. For example, “Dear Ms. Clarks.” If you have doubts about the recipient’s gender, use a full name instead. For example, “Dear Alex Smith.”
When to use Dear
If you are already quite familiar with the recipient, you can use a more informal salutation like “Dear” and the person’s first name. For example, “Dear John.”
Hi vs. Hello
When writing to co-workers or clients that you know very well, you can use “Hi” or “Hello.” The last one is a good choice if your goal is a slightly more formal tone. For example, “Hello, Diana.”
This salutation is too informal, especially in the context of the proper business email format. It is highly recommended to use “Hey” only in communications with people whom you have worked together for a long time, or when the environment is casual.
The email body is the core of your email. In this part, you need to communicate your message as straightforward and as well-structured as possible. Remember that your ultimate goal here is to help the recipient efficiently and correctly understand the provided information. Here are a few email format writing rules that you should follow:
Make a short intro
Start your email with the sentence that tells the recipient what your email is all about. Try to keep this paragraph relatively short (just one or two sentences) because it is important that you don’t waste people’s time.
Here are some good examples of the email introduction section: “I am writing to apply for the QA engineer position in ABC company,” “Thank you for the pleasant conversation last week,” “Welcome to the XYZ project.” If you aim at making the intro more informal, consider asking the reader some questions about a recent event or team meeting, vacation, etc. Such an approach will let the recipient know that you are sincerely interested in their wellbeing.
Prioritize your information
Once you have introduced yourself and the general purpose of your message, you can start writing the body of your email. Put the most important content at the top. This way, you can show your respect to your reader’s time.
Keep it short
Want to know how to discourage people from reading your email to the end? Bury them in the information. If you do expect attention to your matter, try to keep it brief. Although there is no standard length for business emails, it’s a smart idea to keep your letter to about one PC screen length.
Make it visually scannable
Your email text should be easily recognizable. If you have a lengthy email, it is best to break it up into short paragraphs. Also, try to keep each section around three sentences.
Use short sentences
Introduce one idea in one sentence. Also, avoid using a lot of commas and brackets. They will make your sentences too long. With short sentences, you reduce the likelihood of the reader giving up and not taking your desired action.
Use bolds and Italics
They might help the recipient find the most important parts of your message more easily. However, this only works if you use them sparingly. Also, note that excessive use of bolds and Italics can actually have the opposite effect. Try to stick to the rule – no more than one highlighted word or group of words per sentence.
Consider lists/bullet points
If you want to help readers find the most important information quickly each time they re-open your email, it is a good idea to use lists/bullet points.
Use simple words
Don’t make things more complicated than they are. Compose your email using the words that the recipient can understand. However, if you are communicating with experts in your field, complicated words and technical vocabulary wouldn’t be a problem.
Closing as a part of formal email format
A professional email usually has a well-rounded conclusion. It is a good idea to utilize the ending to insert a call to action, make a request, or ask a question.
Include a phrase/sentence that encourages the recipient to take a specific action. For example, “Check out the documents,” “Download the manual,” etc.
In formal emails, we usually use indirect questions instead of direct ones. For example, “This is an inquiry about the conference timings” instead of “What are the timings for the conference?”
If you have a request, try to state it as clearly as possible. For example, “Kindly send me the report by the end of the day.”
Signature in email format
Also, we recommend you making a professional email signature and including it with every message you send. The idea behind this is that the reader can find your contact details and other additional information easily. Here are some basics you can add to your email signature: a full name, job title, company name & website, contact details. Besides that, you can also include links to your company’s social media profiles, a logo, and a personal photo.
- “The Worst Email Sign-offs”
- “How To Master Email Sales Closing Lines To Seal Your Sales Immediately”
Sending business emails often involves attaching files. One of the main rules here is to double-check that you have attached all the files that you mentioned in your message before you hit the “Send” button. Also, be sure to make the following things as well:
Check the size
Note that the storage space of an email inbox of your recipient might be relatively limited. Also, people often read their emails using smartphones, and the Internet connection is not always stable. That is why it is important to limit the size of the attached files to no more than 5MB.
Consider uploading to the file storage
However, if you need to send large attachments, consider the following options. 1) Ask permission to send the large file. 2) Upload your files to some reliable data repository and share the link to download.
Here are some good tips that you shouldn’t miss if your goal is a correct email format.
Know your audience
Our recipients are different. That is why not all emails should be written and formatted in the same way. Some mails should be structured in a more formal style. While those that you write to people you know well can be structured in a less formal manner.
Tone of voice
Choose the appropriate tone for your business emails. Here is how you define it.
You should use the formal style if it is required in your company; if you don’t know the recipient well;
if you are writing to a person who is above you in authority.
You can use the informal style if it is encouraged in your company; if you are getting in touch with a person you know well; if your email contains both business and non-business topics.
Double-check the grammar
Before you send your business email, always check links and texts for spelling mistakes or unclear phrases. This will help you make your message look professional.
Plain text vs. HTML email format
Recipients can view your emails in both HTML or plain-text formats. But pay attention that depending on the email client or particular settings they are using, an HTML email may or may not be displayed properly. In case the HTML is recognized, the reader will see your email as you intended — with images, text, and designs. But if the HTML isn’t recognized (which may happen if the recipient uses a mobile device to check emails), it is crucial to have a plain text version of your email. This is also important for users in areas with slow Internet connections.
Add images on the left
Did you know that people’s eyes are attracted more strongly by imagery over text? Because of this fact, it is recommended to put the image on the left. This way, it would be the first thing recipients see when they open your email. And once they have satisfied their visual curiosity, they can continue reading your entire email.
The following email format template lists the basic info you need to include in the business email. Use this template to create your customized message.
Subject line of email message:
Tell them what your email is about. Make it 6-10 words.
Dear Mr./Ms. + last name or Dear + name if you know the recipient well.
In this section of your email, you should provide information on why you are writing. Be as clear and direct as possible. In case you are writing to apply for a job, mention a position.
Body of the email:
This section is the core of your email message. Give the recipient the essential details. Describe what you have to offer, ask for help, make a request, etc.
You can conclude your email by adding a call to action or asking a question. Say thank you.
Give preference to professional email signatures with interactive links, icons, and banners.
To wrap it up, let's go through the email format essentials once more:
- Know your audience to choose the right writing style (formal, less formal);
- Use a brief, yet descriptive subject line;
- Remember that professional email should always begin with a salutation;
- Use bullet points/lists if your text has a lot of factual data or information;
- To keep your text readable, you can highlight the relevant areas using bold and Italics;
- Avoid overly complicated or long sentences, all caps or excessive punctuation;
- Check for wordiness and delete excess info;
- If necessary, provide supporting information in attachments;
- Double-check your grammar;
- Close properly with your initials/name/email signature.